film

Ir­ish ac­tor Robert Shee­han tells Tara Brady why he’s a Mis­fit in more ways than one,

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Front Page -

ROBERT Shee­han stretches out on the couch in his new red trousers. His deca­dent choice of ap­parel makes him look even more imp­ish than usual. At 23 he’s no longer a teenager, but that tou­sle of curls and his pen­chant for on-screen rebels ensures a lin­ger­ing aura of ado­les­cence. If he looks like some­thing from a Ger­maine Greer cof­fee-ta­ble book, there is, he sus­pects, a rea­son.

“I was the small fella for a while,” he says with a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally flam­boy­ant wave. “I played foot­ball for Port­laoise un­til I was 14 or 15. And then, sud­denly, ev­ery­body shot up and I was too short for the team. I caught up about a year later. By sixth year I was hit­ting five-eleven or six feet. But just at that piv­otal mo­ment in pu­berty, I fell be­hind. It was an aw­ful hin­drance with the girls.” He grins from his re­pose: “Not that I can com­plain.”

These days the Of­faly-born ac­tor can’t walk down a street with­out be­ing ac­costed by ea­ger fe­males. It’s a Mis­fits thing, he says. His turn as Nathan Young – a cock­sure Robin Good­fel­low with an Asbo and su­per­pow­ers – was the star at­trac­tion of the Bafta-win­ning E4 show.

“It must be big here,” he says, “be­cause a lot of peo­ple seem to come up on the street about it in Dublin. In Lon­don I usu­ally get ‘You’re that guy from Skins, in­nit?’”

Robert Michael Shee­han swears he doesn’t know how he got here. His up­bring­ing in Co Laois, though “lovely”, was any­thing but show busi­ness. “My dad is a re­tired guard and my mum was the reg­is­trar for births and deaths for the Mid­land Health Board. My lovely sis­ter is do­ing her Mas­ter’s in fi­nance and ac­count­ing. My brother owns two com­pa­nies. I make no sense at all.”

He has no for­mal train­ing. In­deed, be­fore land­ing his first film role in 2004’s Song for a Raggy Boy, his only acting credit was as the lead in a school pro­duc­tion of Oliver.

“It was called Oliver with a Twist, ac­tu­ally,” he re­calls. “My teacher was a great one for the puns. I was so en­thu­si­as­tic about it that my par­ents brought me to the Raggy Boy au­di­tions a cou­ple of years later. And

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